DENVER — Denver’s Jon Foster scored three goals to lead seventh-ranked Denver to a 9-4 win over Air Force at the 13th annual Wells Fargo Denver Cup Saturday at Magness Arena.
DU jumped ahead with three goals in the first period and after each team scored four goals in the second, DU put the game away with two in the third.
“I think we came out and played well,” said Pioneers head coach George Gwozdecky. “I was surprised at our scoring chances and opportunities. We were strong on offense, but there are still things we can improve on defensively in the future.”
Foster scored the first of his three goals in the game at the 5:33 mark on the power play. Goals by Jeff Drummond and Paul Stastny gave the Pioneers a 3-0 lead at the first intermission.
A much better effort from Air Force made the game interesting in the second period. Each team scored four goals in the second period as the Pioneers held on to the three-goal lead at the second intermission. Brandon Merkosky scored two goals for the Falcons, including one on the power play as the teams traded goals throughout the 20 minutes.
Freshmen Eric Ehn and Bryan Becker also scored for the Falcons. Foster completed his hat trick in the second period with a pair of goals. Geoff Paukovich and Matt Carle also scored for the Pioneers.
Desperately needing a goal early in the third period, Air Force put pressure on the Pioneers but were unable to score, and Denver put the game out of reach with two goals in the third. Paukovich and Stastny each scored their second goals of the game in the final period.
Denver outshot Air Force, 34-27, in the game. DU was 3-for-6 on the power play while Air Force was 1-for-2.
In net, Falcon sophomore Peter Foster started the game and played the first two periods. He made 17 saves while allowing seven goals in 40 minutes. Pioneer sophomore Glenn Fisher made 23 saves and allowed four goals in earning the victory. The loss ended Air Force’s school-record road-winning streak at six games.
Foster’s hat trick is the first for the Pioneers since Ryan Caldwell scored three against Minnesota State on Feb. 14, 2004. The win stretches Denver’s unbeaten streak to a season-high eight games.
Air Force falls to 9-6-2 overall while Denver, the defending national champions, improves to 12-5-1. The loss puts Air Force in the consolation game against Colgate Sunday at 4:05 p.m. Denver moves into the championship game against Northeastern at 7:05 p.m.